dr pheels

2+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2016
8
19
Hello SDN! Another longtime lurker here. I took my DAT ~2 days ago, and I went straight to work right afterwards. Have been working everyday since so I haven't really gotten the chance to sit down and think, and process things. All I can say is, what a relief... the day had finally come and gone. Anyway, I wanted to post a breakdown to share my DAT studying experience from this summer, and hopefully comfort those that are still neck-high in cortisol. It's really the least I can do to give back. Quick background: I took Biochem/Microbio/OChem2 and all of their respective labs this past spring semester. My study schedule consisted of a VERY tentative 10 weeks-- work schedule fluctuated week to week. So, I had to make do and tried to get in at least 32 hours of active studying each week.

My scores are as follows (proof attached):
AA: 25
TS: 25
Bio: 26
GC: 27
OC: 22 :confused::beaver:
PAT: 25
RC: 25
QR: 24
"Jack of all trades, a master of none"

Materials used:
-DAT Destroyer 2017
-Math Destroyer 2017
-DAT Bootcamp
-Cliff's AP Bio (3rd Ed)
-DAT Genius Flashcards
Before I proceed to my breakdown, I just wanted to give a shoutout to @orgoman22 @Ari Rezaei @FeralisExtremum for such INCREDIBLE resources. Also, a huge thanks to all of the other DAT breakdowns from past to present-- really helped me see that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it was my job to point out my own weaknesses (such as bio and math) and overcome them.

Also, for those still hitting the grind, stay honest, humble, and determined my friends. Keep pushing, just up until a day or two ago, I was there with ya. I urge that you constantly stay aware of yourself (this really matters friends, physical+mental health), so take breaks as needed, and don't let this study process consume you into counter-productivity.

As for the breakdown...

Note: In terms of practice, Destroyer was always my starting point and the only BC practice tests I did for each section was 6-10 until it was time I felt 'ready' to do the full length practice tests.

Bio: Everything was practically foreign to me other than the immune system, bacteria/viruses, and cellular respiration. I know what you must be thinking, "what do you mean foreign"? Well, I honestly went into biochem and microbio with no strong bio background prior (being years out of touch with biology). Cliffs AP Bio (3rd ed), Feralis, Destroyer Bio (I went through this twice), BC Bio, and DAT Genius flashcards definitely 'built the house' ground up.

My learning came largely from investigating the answers I had gotten wrong or guessed on. The solutions provided by Destroyer and BC were incredibly helpful and insightful.

*To stay organized, I took double-column notes, drawing a line straight down the middle of the pages. Would take my primary reading notes on the left column, and would come back and fill in supplemental notes on the right. Made things very easy to access and relate to one another.
Despite my schedule fluctuations, staying organized kept me learning at a consistent pace, so if anyone would like to know how I personally used the materials to study for Bio just ask.

|||||On the actual test, most questions were straightforward and a few that were worded questionably. My set of questions were as broad as they could get ever get I think. Now, there are a few curve-ball questions that you probably will have never seen before, like ever, despite the amount of info you've covered. It will honestly boil down to your ability to reason (which is quite different than regurgitating).

GC:
Gen Chem has by far been one of my most favorite courses in undergrad so this was actually one of the more enjoyable parts of my days. I actually didn't have to review for this as much as I thought. I would try to speed through this section and and OC whilst studying because my hours were numbered day to day. A man must keep putting food on his table! I would refer to my old notes from Gen Chem lecture (I took in Spring 2016) if I did run into any trouble. However, many people do recommend Chad's, and I don't see why they wouldn't! His semester-length vids are great (read OC section for more detail), so I can only imagine how helpful his DAT videos are, he's a very entertaining guy as well, keeps you engaged. Destroyer and BC were invaluable; such great question banks to work through.

BC GC definitely disciplined me into slowing things down, for the better of course. On the practice tests for this section, I was making mistakes largely due to speed-skimming through questions, ignoring units, and having forgotten very elementary but fundamental background knowledge. Mike's Videos in the post-test explanations were amazing and very helpful. My advice, slow down, read the entire question, and pay attention to UNITS. Units, units, units...

|||||On the actual test, they were very transparent with what they are asking from me, and the questions are very standard. BC formatting is most representative, because of the way the answer choices are presented. I would implore you to do Destroyer first so you actually know how to do the calculations/equation rearrangements.

OC: O chem is my most favorite subject ever, period-- most favorite part of my day. Chad has these free video series for full-length semester courses, and I used his OC series to ace OC1 and OC2, and I made a 100% on the ACS exam, so he's your guy!! Still having all of those notes, I didn't have to review much for this section either.

For BC OC, I was getting ~27/30 questions correct (scores will be posted below). This was enough to make me 'sit down, be humble' and take this section seriously. I would watch Mike's answer explanations if they were available(on some of the practice tests they weren't), otherwise the text explanations were pretty clutch too.

|||||On the actual test, everything here was also pretty standard for me, so I'm actually very curious as to what I got wrong. This score made me sigh because of all the sections, this is the one I was most confident in tbh. There weren't any foreign concepts, so if you're learning from the ground-up, I'm certain you will have encountered everything you need to know for this section by the time test day comes. If possible, leading up to test day I would brush up on reactions because there's a whole LOT they could pick from. I would also try to have a very solid understanding of SN1/E1/SN2/E2; look up some visual diagrams to help you see what's going on (like why there's a carbocation or a pentavalent TS). Finally, I would NOT ignore amino acids and lab techniques, especially if you have not taken orgo lab yet (though I am hoping you already have if you're taking this test).

PAT: I only used Bootcamp for this, and wow, I felt super ready going in. To an extent, I can say that BC PAT was slightly overkill, especially for angles, but I wouldn't change a dang thing. Better to go in overprepared than under. PAT is actually the one section where I saw the most improvement in, and I think everyone will find improvement in this.

Don't be discouraged if you find yourself plateauing, use that to motivate you and drive you further into your studies. Just keep practicing, keep exposing yourself to more shapes and figures, angles especially. Your perception will develop. What's critical about this section is timing, and growing 'comfortable' into being under that pressure. Studying for this section personally made me make quicker decisions in general, and be sure about them. This is really random but for example, I'm the type of person who loves spending my time at the drive-thru menu. This summer though, I found myself at that menu board for no longer than 17 seconds. I had to pick something and bounce. And that's the biggest piece of advice I can give to you-- pick something and move on. Now if you are SUPER unsure, pick something, mark the question and move on. IF you have time, you can possibly come back to it, but don't count on it.

|||||On the actual test, since the review button was available from the very start, I went straight to angles and went from there. But let's start with rocks, man these rock keyholes were definitely there to suck up my time. I had to go with the gut and move on. TFE and Pattern-folding shapes were much more irregular than those I've encountered on BC. Angles were slightly easier than BC for me at least. Hole-punching and cube counting were on par with BC for me.


RC: I honestly didn't touch any of the reading practice exams until I did my full length practice tests on BC. I did however read scientific american journals in the morning on my off-days just to get my brain going (also to develop a faster & productive reading speed). On top of that, I read like multiple DAT breakdowns a week hehe. But other than that, when it finally came down to doing the full length practice tests, I used @BYU4you's RC method and it paid off for me most of the time (scores further down). I would highly recommend you start reading more if you've struggled with it for a good part of your life. I personally feel that to succeed in this section, you need to have a solid attention span. To stay focused and engaged in this task is actually quite difficult for some people, so do not underestimate it. BC reading was definitely overkill, but in being so, it trained me in alertness, staying engaged, and disciplined my effective reading.

|||||On the actual test, my articles were quite interesting to read (or did I fool myself into thinking so??), so that did help quite a lot. The question formatting was very similar to BC. I think before going into this section, you need to wake yourself up again, I know I did. So please use your break; bring a revitalizing snack and rehydrate, this is a mental marathon people! And during your break, just breath, try not to think about the test sections you had just completed because there is absolutely nothing you can do about them anymore. Instead, think 30, because look, I don't know you personally, but if you've studied for this test, what I can say is that you've worked too dang hard to come down on yourself now. Think 30!!


QR: I had been really out of touch with Math, much more so than Bio. Also, it has been my weakest subject since ever so have mercy on my soul man... I can firmly say I knew nothing, other than simple addition-subtraction/multiplication-division, I knew nothing. I went through every single QR video in the DAT QR youtube playlist. When it was finally time to practice, I used Math Destroyer and it shattered me, it really did, initially. At the end of the day, Math Destroyer really saved me, you guys have no idea and I'll get to that later. But yeah, for the first 8 practice tests, I would literally cry the after each one because my results were just horrific (I'm talking ~12/40 correct people)... I was getting so frustrated, so disappointed, and felt so incapable. This was probably the most grueling part of the whole study process for me. And this is where self-doubt really took a toll on me early on. If I ever felt like quitting, it was definitely here and because of this section alone.

Now, like the Bio section, my learning largely took place from reading the solutions as to why I got things wrong. After finishing all the practice tests in Math Destroyer, I moved on to BC Math, and it was still grueling--I wasn't doing as hot as I had hoped, but better. I decided to do another round of Math Destroyer and *click*, things were started to no longer look like another language. I started picking up some traction, and my scores increased drastically. Mind you, none of the questions looked familiar to me whatsoever the second time around, so I was really happy. Oddly enough, Math being the last section of every study session, eventually became my constant daily reminder of patience and self-confidence.

Anyway, a friend of mine referred me to some free GMAT Data Sufficiency questions and free GRE Quantitative Comparison questions to practice in supplement with BC QR. So I did those before starting my second round of BC QR. To some, it may seem redundant to do again, but if you're someone who has had as much disdain towards math as me, suck it up, and keep practicing. If you know what your weaknesses are, do not shy away nor get discouraged.

|||||On the actual test, I got a little bit of everything (trig and geometry included). I think the extra QC and Data Sufficiency practice I did really paid off because I didn't find myself hesitating when it came to those questions. When practicing for these type of questions, you develop a knack for something that isn't commonly addressed in normal academia, at least that's how I felt. Anyway, be ready for anything they throw at you, because from what I've read on recent breakdowns, there hasn't been consistency in the QR section to completely rule out Geometry/Trig.

Anyway, this is what y'all are really here for (BC Practice scores):
BC Practice Test Scores (6-10):
Bio: 19/19/20/20/20
GC: 19/22/20/19/20
OC: 21/22/22/22/23
PAT: 20/20/20/20/21
RC: -Didn't do any reading practice until full-lengths-
QR: 19/19/19/19/20

BC Full-length Practice Scores (1-5):
Bio: 24/23/26/20/25
GC: 24/23/30/23/23
OC: 27/26/30/30/28
PAT: 23/25/23/22/22
RC: 22/19/20/26/20
QR: 20/19/20/19/17

2009 DAT Practice Exam
Bio: 25
GC: 26
OC: 29
PAT: 25
RC: 22
QR: 20


Thanks for taking the time out to read this. Overall, this has been a really humbling experience for me, I hope that you fellow test takers / future test takers will have found something good out of this for yourselves as well. I'm definitely open to any questions anyone may have!
 

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Pearl E. White

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Congratulations! These scores are top notch :thumbup:
 
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orgoman22

DAT DESTROYER... Dr. Romano and Nancy
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Hello SDN! Another longtime lurker here. I took my DAT ~2 days ago, and I went straight to work right afterwards. Have been working everyday since so I haven't really gotten the chance to sit down and think, and process things. All I can say is, what a relief... the day had finally come and gone. Anyway, I wanted to post a breakdown to share my DAT studying experience from this summer, and hopefully comfort those that are still neck-high in cortisol. It's really the least I can do to give back. Quick background: I took Biochem/Microbio/OChem2 and all of their respective labs this past spring semester. My study schedule consisted of a VERY tentative 10 weeks-- work schedule fluctuated week to week. So, I had to make do and tried to get in at least 32 hours of active studying each week.

My scores are as follows (proof attached):
AA: 25
TS: 25
Bio: 26
GC: 27
OC: 22 :confused::beaver:
PAT: 25
RC: 25
QR: 24
"Jack of all trades, a master of none"

Materials used:
-DAT Destroyer 2017
-Math Destroyer 2017
-DAT Bootcamp
-Cliff's AP Bio (3rd Ed)
-DAT Genius Flashcards
Before I proceed to my breakdown, I just wanted to give a shoutout to @orgoman22 @Ari Rezaei @FeralisExtremum for such INCREDIBLE resources. Also, a huge thanks to all of the other DAT breakdowns from past to present-- really helped me see that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it was my job to point out my own weaknesses (such as bio and math) and overcome them.

Also, for those still hitting the grind, stay honest, humble, and determined my friends. Keep pushing, just up until a day or two ago, I was there with ya. I urge that you constantly stay aware of yourself (this really matters friends, physical+mental health), so take breaks as needed, and don't let this study process consume you into counter-productivity.

As for the breakdown...

Note: In terms of practice, Destroyer was always my starting point and the only BC practice tests I did for each section was 6-10 until it was time I felt 'ready' to do the full length practice tests.

Bio: Everything was practically foreign to me other than the immune system, bacteria/viruses, and cellular respiration. I know what you must be thinking, "what do you mean foreign"? Well, I honestly went into biochem and microbio with no strong bio background prior (being years out of touch with biology). Cliffs AP Bio (3rd ed), Feralis, Destroyer Bio (I went through this twice), BC Bio, and DAT Genius flashcards definitely 'built the house' ground up.

My learning came largely from investigating the answers I had gotten wrong or guessed on. The solutions provided by Destroyer and BC were incredibly helpful and insightful.

*To stay organized, I took double-column notes, drawing a line straight down the middle of the pages. Would take my primary reading notes on the left column, and would come back and fill in supplemental notes on the right. Made things very easy to access and relate to one another.
Despite my schedule fluctuations, staying organized kept me learning at a consistent pace, so if anyone would like to know how I personally used the materials to study for Bio just ask.

|||||On the actual test, most questions were straightforward and a few that were worded questionably. My set of questions were as broad as they could get ever get I think. Now, there are a few curve-ball questions that you probably will have never seen before, like ever, despite the amount of info you've covered. It will honestly boil down to your ability to reason (which is quite different than regurgitating).

GC:
Gen Chem has by far been one of my most favorite courses in undergrad so this was actually one of the more enjoyable parts of my days. I actually didn't have to review for this as much as I thought. I would try to speed through this section and and OC whilst studying because my hours were numbered day to day. A man must keep putting food on his table! I would refer to my old notes from Gen Chem lecture (I took in Spring 2016) if I did run into any trouble. However, many people do recommend Chad's, and I don't see why they wouldn't! His semester-length vids are great (read OC section for more detail), so I can only imagine how helpful his DAT videos are, he's a very entertaining guy as well, keeps you engaged. Destroyer and BC were invaluable; such great question banks to work through.

BC GC definitely disciplined me into slowing things down, for the better of course. On the practice tests for this section, I was making mistakes largely due to speed-skimming through questions, ignoring units, and having forgotten very elementary but fundamental background knowledge. Mike's Videos in the post-test explanations were amazing and very helpful. My advice, slow down, read the entire question, and pay attention to UNITS. Units, units, units...

|||||On the actual test, they were very transparent with what they are asking from me, and the questions are very standard. BC formatting is most representative, because of the way the answer choices are presented. I would implore you to do Destroyer first so you actually know how to do the calculations/equation rearrangements.

OC: O chem is my most favorite subject ever, period-- most favorite part of my day. Chad has these free video series for full-length semester courses, and I used his OC series to ace OC1 and OC2, and I made a 100% on the ACS exam, so he's your guy!! Still having all of those notes, I didn't have to review much for this section either.

For BC OC, I was getting ~27/30 questions correct (scores will be posted below). This was enough to make me 'sit down, be humble' and take this section seriously. I would watch Mike's answer explanations if they were available(on some of the practice tests they weren't), otherwise the text explanations were pretty clutch too.

|||||On the actual test, everything here was also pretty standard for me, so I'm actually very curious as to what I got wrong. This score made me sigh because of all the sections, this is the one I was most confident in tbh. There weren't any foreign concepts, so if you're learning from the ground-up, I'm certain you will have encountered everything you need to know for this section by the time test day comes. If possible, leading up to test day I would brush up on reactions because there's a whole LOT they could pick from. I would also try to have a very solid understanding of SN1/E1/SN2/E2; look up some visual diagrams to help you see what's going on (like why there's a carbocation or a pentavalent TS). Finally, I would NOT ignore amino acids and lab techniques, especially if you have not taken orgo lab yet (though I am hoping you already have if you're taking this test).

PAT: I only used Bootcamp for this, and wow, I felt super ready going in. To an extent, I can say that BC PAT was slightly overkill, especially for angles, but I wouldn't change a dang thing. Better to go in overprepared than under. PAT is actually the one section where I saw the most improvement in, and I think everyone will find improvement in this.

Don't be discouraged if you find yourself plateauing, use that to motivate you and drive you further into your studies. Just keep practicing, keep exposing yourself to more shapes and figures, angles especially. Your perception will develop. What's critical about this section is timing, and growing 'comfortable' into being under that pressure. Studying for this section personally made me make quicker decisions in general, and be sure about them. This is really random but for example, I'm the type of person who loves spending my time at the drive-thru menu. This summer though, I found myself at that menu board for no longer than 17 seconds. I had to pick something and bounce. And that's the biggest piece of advice I can give to you-- pick something and move on. Now if you are SUPER unsure, pick something, mark the question and move on. IF you have time, you can possibly come back to it, but don't count on it.

|||||On the actual test, since the review button was available from the very start, I went straight to angles and went from there. But let's start with rocks, man these rock keyholes were definitely there to suck up my time. I had to go with the gut and move on. TFE and Pattern-folding shapes were much more irregular than those I've encountered on BC. Angles were slightly easier than BC for me at least. Hole-punching and cube counting were on par with BC for me.


RC: I honestly didn't touch any of the reading practice exams until I did my full length practice tests on BC. I did however read scientific american journals in the morning on my off-days just to get my brain going (also to develop a faster & productive reading speed). On top of that, I read like multiple DAT breakdowns a week hehe. But other than that, when it finally came down to doing the full length practice tests, I used @BYU4you's RC method and it paid off for me most of the time (scores further down). I would highly recommend you start reading more if you've struggled with it for a good part of your life. I personally feel that to succeed in this section, you need to have a solid attention span. To stay focused and engaged in this task is actually quite difficult for some people, so do not underestimate it. BC reading was definitely overkill, but in being so, it trained me in alertness, staying engaged, and disciplined my effective reading.

|||||On the actual test, my articles were quite interesting to read (or did I fool myself into thinking so??), so that did help quite a lot. The question formatting was very similar to BC. I think before going into this section, you need to wake yourself up again, I know I did. So please use your break; bring a revitalizing snack and rehydrate, this is a mental marathon people! And during your break, just breath, try not to think about the test sections you had just completed because there is absolutely nothing you can do about them anymore. Instead, think 30, because look, I don't know you personally, but if you've studied for this test, what I can say is that you've worked too dang hard to come down on yourself now. Think 30!!


QR: I had been really out of touch with Math, much more so than Bio. Also, it has been my weakest subject since ever so have mercy on my soul man... I can firmly say I knew nothing, other than simple addition-subtraction/multiplication-division, I knew nothing. I went through every single QR video in the DAT QR youtube playlist. When it was finally time to practice, I used Math Destroyer and it shattered me, it really did, initially. At the end of the day, Math Destroyer really saved me, you guys have no idea and I'll get to that later. But yeah, for the first 8 practice tests, I would literally cry the after each one because my results were just horrific (I'm talking ~12/40 correct people)... I was getting so frustrated, so disappointed, and felt so incapable. This was probably the most grueling part of the whole study process for me. And this is where self-doubt really took a toll on me early on. If I ever felt like quitting, it was definitely here and because of this section alone.

Now, like the Bio section, my learning largely took place from reading the solutions as to why I got things wrong. After finishing all the practice tests in Math Destroyer, I moved on to BC Math, and it was still grueling--I wasn't doing as hot as I had hoped, but better. I decided to do another round of Math Destroyer and *click*, things were started to no longer look like another language. I started picking up some traction, and my scores increased drastically. Mind you, none of the questions looked familiar to me whatsoever the second time around, so I was really happy. Oddly enough, Math being the last section of every study session, eventually became my constant daily reminder of patience and self-confidence.

Anyway, a friend of mine referred me to some free GMAT Data Sufficiency questions and free GRE Quantitative Comparison questions to practice in supplement with BC QR. So I did those before starting my second round of BC QR. To some, it may seem redundant to do again, but if you're someone who has had as much disdain towards math as me, suck it up, and keep practicing. If you know what your weaknesses are, do not shy away nor get discouraged.

|||||On the actual test, I got a little bit of everything (trig and geometry included). I think the extra QC and Data Sufficiency practice I did really paid off because I didn't find myself hesitating when it came to those questions. When practicing for these type of questions, you develop a knack for something that isn't commonly addressed in normal academia, at least that's how I felt. Anyway, be ready for anything they throw at you, because from what I've read on recent breakdowns, there hasn't been consistency in the QR section to completely rule out Geometry/Trig.

Anyway, this is what y'all are really here for (BC Practice scores):
BC Practice Test Scores (6-10):
Bio: 19/19/20/20/20
GC: 19/22/20/19/20
OC: 21/22/22/22/23
PAT: 20/20/20/20/21
RC: -Didn't do any reading practice until full-lengths-
QR: 19/19/19/19/20

BC Full-length Practice Scores (1-5):
Bio: 24/23/26/20/25
GC: 24/23/30/23/23
OC: 27/26/30/30/28
PAT: 23/25/23/22/22
RC: 22/19/20/26/20
QR: 20/19/20/19/17

2009 DAT Practice Exam
Bio: 25
GC: 26
OC: 29
PAT: 25
RC: 22
QR: 20


Thanks for taking the time out to read this. Overall, this has been a really humbling experience for me, I hope that you fellow test takers / future test takers will have found something good out of this for yourselves as well. I'm definitely open to any questions anyone may have!
Congratulations!!! DAT Beast Destroyed! Thanks for the shout out and very detailed breakdown..Thanks for also addressing the QR section..it is very inconsistent in what is presented, so you have to prepare for for all possibilities, not only for QR but the entire DAT exam.

Dr. Jim Romano and Nancy
 
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dr pheels

2+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2016
8
19
@Ayyyds Sorry for the super long write-up haha :sorry: Just had a lot on my mind.
Appreciate it, you killed it too! Glad you came out strong. And shucks, we practically made the same PAT score.
But yeah, check your PM's!

@Pearl E. White Your scores are definitely top notch too kind sir. To be honest, I'm still living in disbelief, those ^ scores still don't belong to me. #comatose state

@FeralisExtremum means a lot coming from the master hard worker himself. You set the example, and you also did us all a kindness with the notes. So thanks again :)

@orgoman22 Thanks again for the incredible resources, the work you guys do is amazing. You should put a warning label on Math Destroyer :p, "May require a box of kleenex tissues"
 
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